Police commissioner proposes rise in policing part of tax bill
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Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a survey to gauge residents' views on a possible increase in the policing part of the council tax.
Local policing is funded by a combination of Home Office and other grants, as well as council tax contributions.
The UK Government has announced that Police Crime Commissioners, PCC's, can raise the policing part of the council tax next April by 6.6 per cent - equivalent to £15 per year for an average band D household.
Avon and Somerset PCC, Sue Mountstevens, is aware of the potential strain an increase can have on people living in the area - especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “I know that any increase in household bills is felt by local people and after this extraordinary year, an increase in any bills is an even bigger ask.
"The pandemic has had a huge economic impact on our communities and has affected many people’s finances; the decision to raise the policing part of the council tax will not be taken lightly."
The survey which residents are being urged to fill out takes roughly five minutes to complete and starts by asking what increased amount they would be comfortable paying, if any at all.
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A £15 increase, approximately £1.25 per month, would mean additional investment could be made help the police service tackle the crimes which affect victims the most.
If the policing part of the council tax is not increased, the PCC has warned of cuts which would result in a reduction of police services.
A poll by police revealed 40 per cent of participants would like to see more Covid-19 restrictions enforced by officers.
Ms Mountstevens said: "I understand people’s frustrations with those who continue to flout the rules but in order to improve visibility and results, we need to have resources.
"I have to balance the challenges facing policing, the increased threat from criminality, the community's views and the safety of residents.
“Whatever your view or opinion, I would encourage you to fill out this survey, it is only by making sure your voice is heard that I can truly understand the views of local people.”
You can fill out the survey by logging on to www.tinyurl.com/y6qvvhps